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Trikes and Macs

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I followed a link from designboom this morning to find these great shots of tricycles in Beijing. Since I mentioned utilitarian bikes around the world in a recent post, I want to pass these pictures along. If you are interested, you can also find a few of my own pictures of Chinese bikes and tricycles on my Flickr bikes set.

OK, switching topics a bit. Like many designers, I am a big fan of Apple products. I started working exclusively on the Mac in the early 90s, but I eventually (and reluctantly) switched to SGI machines followed by PCs so that I could run a few specific 3d modeling and rendering programs. Now I have an old PowerMac at home that my kids play with, but I work exclusively on the Windows platform. What does this have to do with bikes you may ask? Good question, not really much, but I will try to tie it back in. Bike Biz pointed to an interesting article on the Apple website about the use of Macs in the graphic design department at Trek. Eric Lynn, a designer at Trek, talks about the hardware and software that they use to design bicycle and product graphics (including the Project One frames) as well as Trek’s websites and printed materials. One point that I found interesting is that they use Parallels to occasionally run Rhino 3d on their MacBook Pros. I currently use Rhino for 3d modeling and I have been curious about how it would run on a MacBook booted up with Windows. I won’t ditch my desktop PC workstation anytime soon, but it would be nice if my next laptop could be a Mac. Currently, I have a faux Powerbook (I stuck one of those big white Apple stickers to the front of my Toshiba laptop) but, trust me; it is just not the same. Anyway, we know from this article that the graphic designers at Trek use Macs. That is no surprise; most graphic designers prefer Macs. I suspect that the industrial designers at Trek use Windows based workstations like mine to run programs like Alias Studio, Rhino, and Solidworks. If any Trek product designers are reading this, I am just curious; are you guys strictly working on PCs or do you occasionally use Macs as well? What about the other bicycle designers out there. What are your hardware and software choices for product development?

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  1. chadL April 2, 2007 at 5:14 pm -  Reply

    yes our graphic design team is on mac. the ID’ers are on AMD based Dell or HP workstations. for design we use, photoshop, illustrator, sketchbook pro, alias studio and solidworks office pro. engineering is all solidworks. most of ID is all solidworks with the exception of the trek carbon frames. We do use Solidworks for carbon frames more and more. the parametric attributes are hard to pass up when it comes to doing all the sizes for each frame. actually we won runner up prizes for the Lemond Triomphe and Gary Fisher full suspension frames at SolidworksWorld’s design competition. Ned and I were real proud of that.
    Regarding technology at Trek. We are constantly looking at tools that make our jobs more efficient. We all have Cintiques which none of us can live without now! our graphics team is running a beta of the new photoshop which allows us to bring 3D files directly into photoshop…it is really freakin’ cool!
    there you go!

  2. James April 2, 2007 at 8:18 pm -  Reply

    Hi Chad, Thanks for the info. Now that you mention it, how could I forget the AMD processor/ Trek design connection. I think I read about on the Alias website as well as about a million other places.

    The fact that you can bring 3d files into Photoshop CS3 is really cool. I just downloaded the version of 3d acrobat which is pretty slick too. Amazing stuff.

    I really wish I could afford a Cintiq right now. Everyone I know who uses one is absolutly hooked. I’d love to see some of your freehand photoshop sketch renderings from it. Man, I have to get one of those.

  3. michael April 2, 2007 at 9:25 pm -  Reply

    I learned how to use a computer on a Mac (Art center was stacked to the rafters with them!) and I admit I do like Macs except for those retarded single button mouses! I currently use a laptop PC (HP) and I can find no difference in performance, convenience and functionality between a Mac and a PC. I can almost here the sharp intake of breath amongst all those ‘Maccies’ out there but let’s be honest, PC’s are cheaper, more powerful, have more programs available and with the advent of Firefox there is no need to use that sad Explorer. Sure Mac’s look ‘cool’ and as a designer I would be the first to admit that PC makers have been slow to elevate their design sensibilities but when it comes to pure function there is little to choose between them. I think the almost fanatical loyalty of ‘Maccies’ is more a personality cult around Steve Jobs than a realistic comparison of function.

  4. Dan Wodarcyk April 3, 2007 at 12:23 am -  Reply

    Within the exhibition design field, totally different, we’re using Vector Works and the add on modelling program, both for the Mac. Common in product design applications as well?

  5. Fritz April 5, 2007 at 10:53 am -  Reply

    I learned to use a computer after I built the thing, but that’s ancient history.

    My dad’s a Mac fanatic. I’m happy with whatever’s available, which is usually a Wintel PC. Which is kind of funny considering who I work for.

  6. Anonymous September 4, 2007 at 6:26 pm -  Reply

    Months later… but my friend Mike Gibson wrote Rhino as a college project and sold it to McNeel. Now he’s working on an easier-to-use modeling program called MoI, check it out


  7. James September 5, 2007 at 11:17 am -  Reply

    Cool. Thanks William. I downloaded the beta of MOI to play around with.

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